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Capitol preview: What to expect this week in Florida politics

By on July 30, 2012

Early voting in five Florida counties starts Monday as Floridians count down two weeks from Tuesday to the primary election. Early voting in the other 62 counties starts Saturday, Aug. 4.

The campaign continues right up to the election, of course, and campaigns will intensify over the next several weeks. President Obama returns this week; he’ll campaign in the Orlando area on Thursday.

MONDAY

EARLY VOTING IN FIVE COUNTIES: Early voting begins Monday for the Aug. 14 primary in Collier, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough and Monroe. Those five counties are “pre-clearance counties,” and changes in elections laws in those areas must be approved by the federal government. A change in early voting dates made by the Legislature in 2011 isn’t in effect in those counties, giving voters there more time for early voting. (Monday.)

MCCAIN, GRAHAM, AYOTTE TALK DEFENSE CUTS IN TAMPA: U.S. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., attend a town hall to discuss the possible impact of defense cuts in the Tampa Bay area, home to MacDill Air Force Base. (Monday, 9 a.m., Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation, 124 S. Franklin St., Tampa.)

LAWMAKERS AS LOBBYISTS: Integrity Florida holds a press conference to release a new report, “Corruption Risk Report: Financial Disclosure.” The report will cover state officials’ personal disclosure forms, including those of lawmakers who work for lobbying firms. (Monday, 10:30 a.m., Florida Press Center, 336 E. College Ave., Tallahassee)

CAMPAIGNS – RUBIO HELPING OUT LOPEZ-CANTERA: Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, R-Miami, will get some help from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio at a fundraiser for Lopez-Cantera’s bid for Miami-Dade County property appraiser. Rubio appears at Monday morning’s event in Coral Gables. (Monday, 9 a.m., Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.)

TUESDAY

LOTTERY PROJECTIONS: The revenue estimating conference meets to revise financial outlook statements on the Florida Lottery and the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund. The panel will also take a look at gross receipts, PECO bond rates, and proceeds from the Communications Services Tax.(Tuesday, 9 a.m., 117 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

PSC NOMINATING COMMISSION: The Public Service Nominating Commission to come up with a list of qualified applicants for the possible vacancy on the commission when Lisa Edgar’s term ends Jan. 1. Edgar has applied for reappointment, and there are at least 20 other candidates for the $130,000 a year job on the state’s utility regulation panel. Edgar, on the PSC since 2005, is its longest serving commissioner. The nominating commission will narrow the list down to candidates it will interview at a later date. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Tampa International Airport, Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Service Building, Lobby Conference Room A, 4100 George J. Bean Parkway, Suite 3369, Landside Terminal, Tampa.)

VISIT FLORIDA PRES SPEAKS: VISIT FLORIDA President Chris Thompson will speak to the Economic Club of Florida on Tuesday on “A Historical Perspective and the Road Ahead for Ensuring Florida’s Tourism Industry is Competitive and Sustainable.” VISIT FLORIDA is the public-private tourism marketing arm of the state. (Tuesday, 12:10 p.m., Leon County Civic Center, A2-A3, 505 W. Pensacola St., Tallahassee.)

PANEL DISCUSSES MEDICAID: The state’s Medical Care Advisory Committee, which includes representatives of consumers and industry groups, will meet to discuss issues in the Medicaid program. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee.)

SILVER SPRINGS STANDARDS DISCUSSED: The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a workshop about nutrient standards, known as total maximum daily loads, at Silver Springs. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., McPherson Complex Auditorium, 601 SE 25th Ave., Ocala.)

CAMPAIGNS – EMERGENCY PALM BEACH COUNTY DEC MEETING: The Palm Beach County Democratic Party executive committee holds an emergency meeting to choose a replacement candidate for House District 89. Democrat Pam Goodman dropped out of the race. The committee is expected to choose former House Speaker Tom Gustafson to replace Goodman. He would face Republican Rep. Bill Hager. (Tuesday, 7 p.m., Temple Emeth, Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach.)

WEDNESDAY

FLORIDA POLYTECH MOVES FORWARD: The Florida Polytechnic University Board of Trustees will meet, including a discussion with state Board of Governors Chairman Dean Colson and members of the Select Committee on Florida Polytechnic University. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport, 9300 Jeff Fuqua Blvd., Orlando.)

CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN: The Florida Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers’ annual conference for professionals around the country, including law enforcement and child protective service personnel, attorneys, therapists, counselors and social workers. The conference is actually called Krimes Against Kids.  (Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, 2101 North Epcot Resorts Boulevard, Lake Buena Vista.)

THURSDAY

HOSPITAL PAYMENT CHANGES AT ISSUE: The Agency for Health Care Administration will hold a workshop about a shift toward using what are known as DRGs, or diagnostic-related groups, in reimbursing hospitals for treating Medicaid patients. (Thursday, 9 a.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee.)

UNIVERSAL SEEKS RATE HIKE: The Office of Insurance Regulation holds a public hearing on a request by Universal Insurance Co. of North America to raise homeowners insurance rates by an average of 24.5 percent. With 567,187 policies, the company holds about 9.3 percent of the market. (Thursday, 9 a.m., Room 116 Larson Bldg, 200 E. Gaines St., Tallahassee.)

PSC WADES INTO WATER ISSUES: The Florida Public Service Commission will take up a series of water and wastewater issues stemming from utilities in Polk, Lee, Highlands and Franklin counties. (Thursday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

CAMPAIGNS

CLINTON FUNDRAISING FOR NELSON: Former President Bill Clinton will help Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson raise money for his re-election at the home of Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan of Morgan and Morgan. (Thursday.)

REDSTATE GATHERING:  The fourth annual RedState Gathering takes place at the Omni Jacksonville Hotel in downtown Jacksonville. This year’s slate of speakers at the political rally includes Gov. Rick Scott, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, RNC chairman Reince Priebus and other Republicans. The conference begins Thursday night with a reception, with the full slate of speakers beginning Friday. (Thursday, Omni Jacksonville Hotel, 245 Water St, Jacksonville)

FRIDAY

TRANSPORTATION REVENUE: The revenue estimating conference meets to revise projections for transportation funds. The panel will take a look at fuel tax revenue and how that affects the state transportation trust fund. (Friday, 9 a.m., 117 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

EDUCATION CONSTRUCTION The revenue estimating conference returns to tweak estimates on the state’s education finance program. The panel of economists last met in January to look at the Public Education Capital Outlay Program, or PECO. It is the state’s largest school construction program. In January, the panel estimated the state would have no money to spend during the 2012/13 fiscal year because of a lackluster real estate market, where the fund derives its revenue. ( Friday, 1:30 p.m., 117 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

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